AT&T bumps up subscription rates, data caps with Mobile Share Advantage plans

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Not to be outdone by Verizon, AT&T is bumping its subscription rates — and data caps — across the board. On Wednesday, AT&T announced Mobile Share Advantage, a new rollout of postpaid plans that’ll see prices slightly climb while data allotments rise accordingly.

Here’s how the tweaked offerings break down. AT&T’s least expensive, lowest-tier plan now starts at $30 a month — $10 more than before — but nets you 1GB, a jump from the previous offering’s 300MB. Unlimited calls and texts in the U.S. are in tow, too, and line access charges — the fees for adding additional devices — have been standardized. Adding a device to a plan, which was $15 for larger data plans and $25 for smaller ones, is now a flat $20.

AT&T is also eliminating another long-standing source of headache, too: overage fees. Rather than levy an across-the-board $15 charge per gigabyte on subscribers who exceed their monthly data allotment, customers on the new plans won’t be charged extra. Instead, they’ll see their transfer speeds throttled to 128Kbps, or have the option of forking over $20 for 10GB of supplemental data.

AT&T’s new policy stands in contrast to Verizon’s replacement for overages: Safety Mode. Big Red offers free “protection against overage fees” to customers who exceed their plan’s monthly data threshold, but only on the carrier’s priciest plans — the XL and XXL. It’s a $5 a month upcharge for those on the carrier’s less expensive S, M, and L tiers.

T-Mobile and Sprint eliminated overages more than a year ago.

A few of AT&T’s other new terms are generally advantageous, too. The carrier is rolling out tweaked data tiers that, in most cases, offer 20 percent more data than the old ones: a $40 tier with 3GB of data, a $60 tier with 6GB, a $90 tier with 16GB, a $110 tier with 25GB, and a $135 plan with 30GB. The pricing of the latter two plans, in fact, has actually been reduced.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Customers on cheaper tiers aren’t so lucky — the carrier’s $30 plan offers a gigabyte less than it did previously, or 1GB versus the previous 2GB. But AT&T was quick to point out that pricing of its most popular plan, the 15GB option, is now $10 cheaper for a gigabyte more — the equivalent under Mobile Share Advantage, the 16GB tier, comes in at $90 per month versus the old offering’s $100.

The revamped plans are the newest in a series of improvements AT&T’s made to its mobile plans. In early 2015, AT&T introduced Rollover Data, a free benefit that automatically carries subscribers’ remaining monthly allotment of data to the next billing period. In January, it introduced an unlimited data plan, starting at $100 a month, for subscribers to its DirecTV Satellite service. And in August, it extended multiline family plan options to customers on its GoPhone prepaid plans: For $45 a month, eligible subscribers get unlimited talk and text, messaging, and 3GB of 4G LTE data. Each additional line reduces plan pricing by $5, up to a maximum of $20.

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